Latest Entries »

Master the PullUp!

Master the PullUp!

4 Simple Methods to Getting Your First Pull-Ups in a Matter of Weeks!

Lets be real people. One major barrier to getting started with calisthenics is not that: you don’t have time, you don’t have the energy, or it’s too boring. The major problem with functional fitness is that “it is too hard!”

I mean this literally, do a pushup is too hard for many people. Doing a pull-up is damn near impossible. I recently saw a guy at the gym who is always on the treadmill. One day he decided to try pull-ups. He got on the pull-up bar and couldn’t do one. Then he got back on the treadmill and kept running.

Believe it or not, that used to be me. I could squat over 500 lbs with relative ease and bench over 400 but I weighed 270 lbs and couldn’t do one pull-up. So I avoided doing what I was weak at. Moreover, when I did try to do pull-ups, I didn’t understand how to build up to a level of basic competence with the movement. So after deciding to develope my pull-up, I floundered for almost a decade. After years of research and talking to calisthenics and body weight experts, I eventually learned that traditional physical education has never taught the mainstream public how to develop REAL functional strength.

Day 1

Static Chin Up: 3 x 15 reps
Chin Up Negatives: 3 x 15 reps

Day 2

Static Chin Up: 3 x 10 reps
Chin Up Negatives: 3 x 10 reps

Day 3

Static Chin Up: 4 x 8 reps
Chin Up Negatives: 4 x 8 reps

Day 4

Static Chin Up: 5 x 6 reps
Chin Up Negatives: 5 x 6 reps

Day 5

Static Chin Up: 10 x 3 reps
Chin Up Negatives: 10 x 3 reps

If you are having trouble finishing up the reps, lower the resistance. Try to do this for 1.5 months, you should get great results. Be consistent by working out every day as long as you do not over-train.

More Calories Out Than Calories In Equals Weight Loss -- NOT!!

More Calories Out Than Calories In Equals Weight Loss — NOT!!

In the fitness world, it is a commonly held belief that the more calories you burn in relation to the fewer calories taken in equals a caloric deficit. Moreover, this caloric deficit results in weight loss.

If only weight loss were that simple. A lot more people would be thin and the United States would not have an obesity problem.

Many people wonder how could this be. After all America is one of the most fitness conscious countries on the planet. Very few nations are so obsessed with physical appearance, muscle size, diet, exercise and cardio as America is. Yet, toddlers in the U.S. are facing unprecedented obesity rates. This was unheard of 40 years ago. Obviously, there is more to being fat than not burning enough calories through exercise.

Leptin Resistance

Leptin is a hormone that came to the attention of the scientific community in the 90s. Leptin is known to many as the fat burning hormone. Thats right, the more leptin produced by the body, the more your fat stores are tapped for energy. However, many of us are developing high levels of leptin resistance. This means that even though our bodies may be producing leptin, leptin receptors in the body are not sensing the increased leptin levels. When the body does not sense the increased leptin levels it spares fat stores. That is why many of us work out really hard, and have what we believe is a great diet but have an accumulation of fat around the midsection that just will not go away.

Moreover, your body has only 2 sources of energy once food is digested and broken down. They are sugars and fats. So throughout the course of your day, whether you are reading a book, digging a ditch, running 5 miles or sitting at a computer, you are burning calories that either come from a fat source or a sugar source. If leptin is not allowing you to use your stored fat source (love handle, midsection belly fat), then your body breaks down muscle tissue for sugar. In other words, the muscle mass you’ve worked so hard to build is being catabolized by your body because of its inability to burn stored fat for energy.

The cause of leptin resistance is by and large your body’s reaction to the processed foods that you eat every single day. Also, we are victims of high sugar and high carb diets that are very difficult to escape. Everything that we eat from movie popcorn, to soda, to bread on a sandwich, to the post workout protein supplement, to the mojito at the jazz club, to the starbucks coffee before work, to the high protein paleo plate, gets us dependant on a glucose (sugar) based energy source as opposed to the fat based energy source. It is the process of getting the body dependant on a fat based energy source that leads to the metabolism of fat stores in the body as well as a healthy response to leptin.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone that is released by the pancreas. It regulates what cells can absorb and utilize glucose (blood sugar). Now, our muscle and brain cells can only use so much glucose. The excess glucose is stored in fat cells where it becomes free fatty acids.

The human body has evolved to use excess fat for energy in times when food is scarce. Furthermore, the human body uses the readily available glucose in times when food is readily available and the body is not in starvation mode.

That being said, because of the western world’s high consumption of sugary products, many of us live in a state of consistently high blood sugar levels. This means that our bodies are constantly storing glucose for energy, but very rarely is there a utilization of glucose and this leads to an accumulation of adipose fat tissue (obesity).

Dr Ritamarie Discusses Insulin and Belly Fat

Improving Leptin Sensitivity

There are ways to improve leptin sensitivity and allow you body to burn fat as energy instead of sugar (especially sugar from catabolized muscle). For example there are foods that encourage leptin sensitivity and production. Among these foods are:

• African Mango Tree Extract
• Oleanic Acid
• Brown Seaweed Extract
• Shan Qi
• Yerba Mate & Green Tea
• Raspberry Ketones

Among the foods to avoid are anything that circumvents the body’s use of fat as an energy source. Because the body will use sugars before it uses fat there are a lot of foods that are not conducive to weight loss.
• Breads
• Coffee
• French Fries
• Fried Food (fried in canola or corn oil)
• Orange Juice
• Candy
• Sugary Desserts

Remember, this list is a guideline for hard losers. Moreover, this is for people who already have a tendency toward leptin resistance and difficulty with burning adipose fat as fuel.

If you do not take action the problems that arise from insulin resistance and leptin resistance lead to serious medical issues. It is a proven fact that having a higher percentage of body fat, especially around the midsection can increase the chances of diabetes and other maladies. However, this does not have to be the case for you.

In this world, there are 2 types of people:
• They are the ones who make things happen
• The ones who let life happen to them

The ones who let life happen to them are the ones who are passive with regard to weight gain, diabetes and their health in general. Accordingly, they are shocked when they get the inevitable notification from their doctor that they have diabetes or asthma or any host of ailments that can be associated with obesity.

This man knows calisthenics.

This man knows calisthenics.

Several years ago, back in the 90s several of the pioneers of today’s calisthenics scene were just getting their start in the game. Prominent names like Giant (Bartendaz), Lord Vital (Beastmode) just to name a few of the prominent calisthenics figures.

Today, extreme calisthenics goes by many names:
Ghetto Workout
Extreme Calisthenics
Street Workout
Bar Workout

However, this calisthenics approach to working out actually is a rediscovery of what was used for strength in the old days. These days before creatine, protein powders, barbells and fancy memberships at gyms are so expensive that they might as well be country clubs. Well actually, some of today’s gyms are actually country clubs.

That being said, there is a movement taking place around the world. In countries like the former Soviet Union, Ukraine, Japan, Canada, the United States, Israel, South Africa and every place in between, extreme calisthenics is taking over. Why?

People are sick of fitness gimmicks, paleo diets, protein drinks and other crap that does not allow you to build functional muscle. Not only that, but many of these, flavor of the month, exercise fads just do not give people the results that they are looking for.


convict conditioning

Paul Wade’s book is a very informative piece of literature. Some say, game changing.

Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s most citizens of the western world were indoctrinated to believe that weight lifting was superior to bodyweight training. Our heros became the bodybuilders, the football players and the strongman competitors. Magnus Ver Magnusson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Walter Payton and other musclebound people who relied on weights.

The physiques of massive bodybuilders became the in thing and we were fooled into believing that a new era of scientific strength training had been ushered in. The reality is that nothing could be farther from the truth.

Since the 60s, the western way of living has made men weaker! Scientific breakthroughs meant to make our lives easier, made us soft, physically weak and unhealthy. We developed cars so that men and women no longer had to walk long distances. As a result, our stamina pales in comparison to cultures like the tarahumara people of Mexico.

We developed antibiotics and as a result, many of us have weak immune systems and dysfunctional metabolisms. The processed foods that we consume is producing the fattest generation in world history. In the meantime, we have convinced ourselves that we are healthier, faster, stronger and our physical well-being is superior.

In the early history of this country, men (of African descent) woke every morning to do back-breaking labor that would leave most modern men incapacitated. These black men and their descendants became legendary figures like Venture Smith and Jack Johnson.

Other legendary strongmen such as Hermann Goerner, Mark Berry, Eugene Sandow, George Hackenschmidt, Arthur Saxon and others whose names have been lost in antiquity have proven that not only are modern methods of strength development overrated, but the contemporary strongman is not the equal of the old-time strongman. Why? The old-time strongman depended on systems based on progressions and volume, while the modern day strongman is the product of protein powders, PEDs and creatine.

Why Paul “Coach” Wade is important is that his book, “Convict Conditioning” is an example of training methodologies from a bygone era. His book breaks down functional strength into primary categories in which you must focus to become well round with regard to strength. They are:
chest and triceps
upper back
lower back and spine
Paul Wade gives us his background as a prison inmate in a maximum security facility. Paul allegedly lived in an environment where it was either become strong or become prey for the strong. Strength was a matter of preserving your manhood and your life. Accordingly, in the prison system old time techniques of strength development existed in the world of the penitentiary that was devoid of fancy sports supplement stores or fancy gym equipment. Old school calisthenics training was preserved, not by commercialism, but by necessity.

Whether you buy Paul “Coach” Wade’s story of prison, or his explanation as to why he keeps his identity secret, it has been acknowledged by a lot of people who have purchased the book that Paul Wade’s knowledge works.

Not only is his information useful, it is crucial to an understanding of calisthenics, and how you can develop the strong core, shoulders back and legs that so many of the extreme calisthenics practitioners have.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,303 other followers